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General / Thematic: The Individual Judge

Expert Reports and the Forensic Sciences

Author

Gary Edmond, Kristy Martire and Mehera San Roque

All Australian jurisdictions regulate the admission of expert opinion evidence. The rules focus on ‘specialised knowledge’, the existence of a ‘field’, and ‘training, study or experience’.[footnote* In most Australian jurisdictions the admission of expert opinion evidence is governed by s 79 of the Uniform Evidence Law (‘UEL’): see Evidence Act 1995 (Cth); Evidence Act 2011 (ACT); Evidence Act 1995 (NSW); Evidence Act 2001 (Tas); Evidence Act 2008 (Vic); Evidence Act 2004 (NI); Evidence (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 (NT). The common law continues in Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. See Kristy Martire and Gary Edmond, ‘Rethinking Expert Opinion Evidence’ (2017) 40 Melbourne University Law Review 967; Gary Edmond and Kristy Martire, ‘Knowing Experts? Section 79, Forensic Science Evidence and the Limits of “Training, Study or Experience”’ in Andrew Roberts and Jeremy Gans (eds), Critical Perspectives on the Uniform Evidence Law (Federation Press, 2017) 80.] They purport to regulate oral testimony but also the expert reports prepared in advance of potential proceedings, which often shape the way charge decisions are made, pleas are negotiated, and cases are settled, prosecuted, defended and occasionally appealed.

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